We must treat all people with respect because God made them for friendship with Himself.
Last week, we touched upon Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 25:40, “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” This statement isn’t just a pious reminder to be nice to everyone. On the contrary, Jesus explicitly says that when the Son of Man comes in His glory, He will gather the nations and separate the sheep and the goats (Mt. 25:31-32). The sheep recognize the dignity of every person and treat them with respect. He teaches how to live the Golden Rule (Mt. 7:12) and to love God and our neighbor (Mk. 12:30-31).
Granted, living the reality of the narrow gate (Mt. 7:13-14) is simply hard on a natural level, and Jesus is certainly not asking us to live a life of co-dependency (He told His disciples to shake the dust from their feet). Instead, our first responsibility is to live the proper order of love—love of God, ourselves, and others. The only way to fully live on the narrow path is to first live in friendship with God and continually seek to participate in His very life (grace). His worldview becomes our worldview, His love becomes our love, and from this vantage point, we can forgive as He did (Mk. 11:25) and do all for the least of His brothers.
Again, it doesn’t mean preserving unhealthy relationships which prevent you from living the proper order of love. In his letter to Timothy, remember St. Paul warned him about Alexander the Coppersmith and told him to be on guard.
May each of us dig deep into our hearts and find ways to live the difficult teachings of Jesus fully. Remember, we can’t do this on our own, but only by leaning into our friendship with Him and sharing in His very life, which is grace.
Spot the Virtue
Trustworthiness means being reliable. It can be easy to associate this with external actions related to justice—to follow through with responsibilities and be reliable for any project. So, yes, these are essential characteristics of trustworthiness, but it goes much deeper.
Trustworthiness relates most especially to the internal actions of justice. It shapes who a person is and how trustworthy they are in words and actions. This person doesn’t hesitate to do the right thing and will keep confidence—their word matters. You don’t expect this person to send a message at the last minute to cancel their commitment. This person will participate in a task or project from start to finish. A trustworthy person is noble and possesses a dignity that positively impacts others.
All of us, even St. Paul, seek trustworthy people, especially in this time of confusion and misinformation. Therefore, let us keep sight of this necessary virtue and actively cultivate it in ourselves and our young people.
Name: Michael, thank you for leading the class bake sale for our fundraiser.
Explain: You were careful in your planning and trustworthy with the proceeds from the sale.
Express: Michael, when you are faithful and trustworthy in small jobs, it is preparation for larger responsibilities.
In a spirit of recollection, place yourself in God’s presence. As you read the verse, use the following steps for lectio divina. Let the Word of God penetrate your mind and heart, and throughout the course of the day, ponder the Word.
What does the Word of God say? Read slowly, listening attentively to the Word of God.
What does the Word of God say to me? Spend time with the word or phrase that touched your heart.
What do I say to the Lord in response to His Word? Let the word or phrase shape your response to God, such as praise, petition, thanksgiving.
What conversion of mind, heart, and life is the Lord asking of me? Rest in His presence and open your heart to receive His Love.
How has encountering God’s love in His Word changed me? How can my life be a gift to others? Ask the Lord to show you where to grow in virtue.
“The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also
trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest
in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones.” —Luke 16:10
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